Red Hibiscus in a Sydney Street

Original Text: 
Marjory Nicholls, Collected Poems, comp. Niel Wright (Wellington: Original Books, 2009).
2And the long tongue that serpent-like shoots out,
4What in the world as wicked is as red?
5I see a columned hall and tables spread,
7Two wine-flushed suitors and a sudden shout,
8Quarrel's quick curses, and the red wine shed--
9A gleam of swords, a bright and startling stain;
10Fear's frantic flight, and silence in the hall;
11Save when the night-wind strays in, flower-sweet,
12And from the gutt'ring candles white drops fall.
13Hibiscus, you do breathe of passion's pain--
14Why do you glow by this grey city street?


1] Hibiscus: a plant of the mallow family with large, brightly colored flowers. Back to Line
3] revellers: people involved in lively and noisy festivities, especially including drinking and dancing.
rout: a large evening party. Back to Line
6] flout: to disregard openly. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
The Spike (1914).
RPO poem Editors: 
Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: